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    Bridal veil – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Why does a bride wear a veil at her wedding?

    A. It originated with Rebekah, who covered her face with a veil when she saw Isaac, her husband-to-be (Gen. 24:65).

    As with almost every custom, one hears a range of rationalisations of the veil. Perhaps it shows that the bride’s beauty is only for her husband to see. Others see it as a mark of modesty.

    It might even be connected with the practice of covering the eyes with the hand when saying the first line of the Sh’ma, which enables a person to concentrate on the holiness of the moment and to prevent distractions. The wedding is a sacred experience, not to be intruded upon by anything extraneous.

    There are times when the moments before the ceremony are disturbed by people bothering the bride with questions about hair-do, make-up and flowers, as if all that mattered was the superficialities of appearance and stage-management.

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